Coronavirus: 350 bodies sent away from Bergamo after local crematorium overwhelmed

Florence reportedly offered help this week

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 01 April 2020 15:50
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Coronavirus: Harrowing footage from Italy hospital showing A+E overrun with coronavirus patients

The Italian province or Bergamo has sent around 350 bodies to be cremated elsewhere as it battles the coronavirus outbreak.

Crematoria in the area have been grappling with increased demand for their services as the area in northern Italy deals with one of the country’s biggest clusters of infections.

Convoys of military vehicles have transported victims to other regions who have offered to help out with cremations.

Hundreds of bodies have been involved in this system, reportedly travelling to places including Ferrara, Modena and Florence.

Around 350 have been sent away for cremation to date, a spokesperson for Bergamo's mayor told The Independent on Wednesday, adding the number could rise before the end of the day.

Around 100 ashes were reportedly returned to Bergamo – a city and province in Lombardy – last week after being cremated elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Italian army carried around 15 bodies to Venice this week, the newspaper L’Eco di Bergamo reported, while the mayor of Florence said the city will cremate 30 people from Bergamo at its request.

“We agreed straight away, said Dario Nardella, according to La Nazione. “It is the least we can do.”

Scores of coronavirus victims have also been sent to Ferrara in Emilia Romagna over the past few weeks, local media has reported.

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Authorities have asked for help in dealing with Bergamo’s rising death toll amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Giacomo Angeloni, the local official for cemeteries, said earlier this month the local crematorium was working around the clock and handling around 24 bodies a day – almost twice its normal maximum – and was unable to keep up.

Bergamo has recorded more than 8,800 coronavirus cases, according to figures on Wednesday. It is the second largest number in Italy, topped only by Milan with around 100 more confirmed infections.

Milan announced last week it would temporarily ban non-residents from being cremated in the city due to growing demand.

Italy has been on lockdown for several weeks as it battles the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 12,400 people who tested positive for the virus have died in the country as of Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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